Thursday, April 18, 2024

Blog Tour: Invitation to Italy by Victoria Springfield

Last week I was in Greece! This week I am in Italy! Not literally, but through the pages of the books I am reading. 

When Abi's daughter Chloe goes to Italy for the summer with her father, his fiancee and their little girl, she feels a bit lost. What happens if her daughter needs her and she is so far away? It doesn't take a lot of convincing by her friend to convince Abi to go visit. 

Abi checks into a beautiful boutique hotel which has been run by Loretta for years. She takes great pride in the little oasis that she has created on the island of Procida, which is situated in the bay of Naples, but she is beginning to wonder if maybe running after her guests, cleaning and her other duties are getting to be too much. 

Among the other guests are Bill, who is trying to relax from a busy job as an importer and Salvo who turns out to be an old friend of Loretta's and who knows at least some of her secrets.

I am not sure how my son would have liked it if I had of turned up while he was staying in Adelaide with his dad, but I guess it was different because Chloe was going to be gone for an extended period. Chloe is at that tricky age where she is almost a teenager and therefore thinks she is old enough to be independent but also needs her parents. There were a couple of awkward moments for Abi when she is invited to dinner with her ex husband's new in-laws and a couple of other times, but I guess that is something that we all need to deal with as we navigate the extended relationships that come after parents re-partner. 

Whilst Abi needs to be available for Chloe, she also gets to experience the island of Procida and surrounding areas. What this holiday is really good for Abi is in helping her realise that she can begin to find a new life for herself, and to accept that she doesn't love her ex anymore. This gives her the freedom to explore a fledgling friendship with Bill. He too has some growth. His marriage had fallen apart several years before and he wasn't as confident as he could have been.

As much as I enjoyed Abi and Bill's story, I also liked Loretta's story, as she began to face the demons from her youth. These days she would never swim, but back in the day her nickname had been the dolphin, and she even achieved some great feats as a swimmer. Slowly we began to see why she had so many trust issues, and why she had moved away from her home at such a young age. Despite this, she has managed to make a success her life as a hotelier, and she needs to protect the life she had built.

When we visited Italy early last year, our plan was to visit the island of Procida. Whilst it is a much lesser known island than it's neighbours Capri and Ischia, it was also named as the Italian Capital of Culture in 2022.  Unfortunately, we couldn't make it work during the short time we had in Naples and now I am really disappointed that we didn't get to see the sites and sounds of the island. The author really brings the setting to life through the words on the page! I was totally intrigued by the descriptions of the island, of the ceramics and more.

I haven't read Victoria Springfield before and I was really pleased by how much I enjoyed her storytelling. From looking at the backlist titles, it is clear to me that she has a real love for Italy and it shows through her writing.

I am sharing this review with the New Release Challenge hosted by The Chocolate Lady's Book Review

Thank you to the publisher, Rachel's Random Resources and Netgalley for the review copy. Be sure to check out other stops on the blog tour below

Rating 4/5

About the book

Invitation to Italy

Abi is distraught when her ex-husband Alex takes their twelve-year-old daughter, Chloe to spend the summer with his glamorous fiancée Marisa and her parents at their home on the beautiful Italian island of Procida. Persuaded by her best friend to book a holiday at the island's Hotel Paradiso, Abi finally meets the woman she's been avoiding for so long. Will the two women's strained relationship survive the summer?

One-time teenage swimming sensation, Loretta, has run the Hotel Paradiso since leaving Capri broken-hearted. When childhood friend Salvo comes to stay, Loretta is forced to confront her past and the fears that have kept her away from the water for forty years. But just as she finds the courage to open her heart, she discovers all is not as it seems with Salvo...

It's a summer of new beginnings for Abi and Loretta - and one they will never forget.

Take a trip to Italy with Victoria Springfield for a summery getaway any time of the year!

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About the Author

Victoria Springfield writes contemporary women's fiction immersed in the sights, sounds and flavours of Italy. Victoria grew up in Upminster, Essex. After many years in London, she now lives in Kent with her husband in a house by the river. She likes to write in the garden with a neighbour's cat by her feet or whilst drinking cappuccino in her favourite café. Then she types up her scribblings in silence whilst her mind drifts away to Italy.

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